Sunday, July 27, 2008

Today, I cook almost every meal for myself, except on weekends when I visit friends. With rare exceptions I cook with simplicity and without a lot of folderol. The side effects are rewarding: I have the pleasure of creation. I feel at home in my bacholor quarters with those fine odors coming from the kitchen. I control my weight by preparing just enough to give my stomach and my taste buds pleasure. And there is also an economic gain in cooking precisely the amount to meet my pleasure and needs.

Henry Lewis Creel, Cooking for One Is Fun (ix-x)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

By the time I got to me sister's, it was dark. I poured myself a Scotch and then, like always, Amy brought out a few things she thought I might find interesting. The first was a copy of The Joy of Sex, which she'd found at a flea market and planned to leave on the coffee table the next time our father visited. It was the last thing a man would want to find in his daughter's apartment - that was my thought anyway - but then she handed me a magazine called New Animal Orgy, which was truly the last thing a man would want to find in his daughter's apartment. This was an old issue, dated 1974, and it smelled as if it had spent the past few decades in the dark, not just hidden but locked in a chest and buried underground.

David Sedaris, When You Are Engulfed in Flames (173)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Except, that is, for those reckless folk who felt that, as the end of the world was nigh and all would soon perish, they might as well live for the present and spend what money they had on pleasure. Within the confines of Walsham this usually meant passing long hours in the alehouses which were liberally sprinkled across the parish. The wanton, both men and women, drank excessively, gambled recklessly, and enjoyed each other's intimate company. This crowd of seemingly carefree folk, who were more numerous than might be imagined, even found it diverting to make jokes about death and the pestilence. However, there was general agreement among this dissolute crowd that fat Simon went too far when he cleared Alice Pye's packed tavern by suddenly falling off his bench, screaming and gesturing to a large swelling on his upper thigh. The horrified carousers who glanced at him writhing on his back on the floor, and did indeed see a great lump in his crotch, ran screaming from the tavern. When Simon chased after them into the road laughing and exposing his huge erect cock, he was given a sound beating and had the door locked against him. For many years after the regulars at Pye's alehouse took grim delight in telling of the prank of Simon Greathorn, as he was henceforth dubbed.

John Hatcher, The Black Death: A Personal History (140)